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Opera begins smear campaign against IE 8

by Brandon on August 29th, 2008

There’s an article over at everybody’s favorite internet tabloid The Register about IE 8’s decision to default to Compatibility View (that is, IE 7 emulation) for INTRAnet sites.  The article lambastes the IE team for “breaking its promise to embrace web standards.”

You might be wondering, “Why does the author of this article care about intranet sites defaulting to Compatibility View?  Doesn’t that make the most sense as it will prevent companies from having unending compatibility problems with IE 8’s new rendering engine, on their sites that were written for IE 6 and which haven’t been updated in years?”

I think the answer is quite simple:  The author doesn’t care.  So why publish the article?

Because Hakon Lie is the CTO of Opera Software, creators of the very unpopular IE and Firefox competitor of the same name.

Yes, Opera, well known as a band of immature cry babies, are now attempting to smear the IE 8 release with sensationalist “articles” posing as news, and blatant lies about the product.

Lies?  Oh yes, like the one about web pages being unable to opt-out of the “broken page icon” that lets users switch to compatibility view for a page.  The truth is that the IE blog and release documentation for Beta 2 has made it very clear that websites can control whether or not that icon is displayed (see the bit about the “IE=EmulateIE8” tag).  They can also control whether they get the IE 8 engine in an intranet context.

That means that if you’re building a new intranet site and you want to target IE 8’s new more strict standards-mode engine, you just need to add one little header tag in order to override the Compatibility View default.  Of course, this little propaganda piece makes no mention of that.

And why would it?  It’s written by the cry baby CTO of a failing competitor, not an actual, you know, journalist.

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  1. Phil Sweet permalink

    I’ve installed IE 8 Beta 2 on all my machines (Vista X64 and XP). So far, so good. Some Firefox fanboys are jumping all over IE 8. I like to see competition.

  2. I was about to critique this article as well, but you’ve done it much better Brandon. Thank you!

  3. Sean permalink

    Well, to be completely fair, the author *does* care. Opera (and Firefox and others) cannot make inroads into the enterprise until enterprises start building standards-based sites in their intranet. As long as IE doesn’t “force” them to switch, that is not going to change (or at least, it will change slowly).

    That said, it’s a purely selfish argument to make. It completely ignores the reality of enterprise needs. In the enterprise, there are needs for all kinds of customization and specialization that may or may not be possible in pure standards tools (there a ton of ActiveX controls, for example). Because enterprises can control the browser their employees are using, they can build exactly the site the need for the cheapest amount of money. If it wasn’t IE, it could be Firefox — maybe an enterprise would build an internal CRM solution that leveraged a custom FireFox add-on. None of that would make it any easier for Opera to make in-roads, and none of that would have any effect on the “standards-based web” that Hakon wants so badly.

  4. “… Opera, well known as a band of immature cry babies, are now attempting to smear….”

    If you’ve got photos of them, visibly unhappy in swaddling clothes, then you might have a case here…. 😉


  5. I’d be scared too if I was Opera. IE8 pretty much removes most of the reasons I was using Opera while additionally having so many great new features.

    Opera is still the winner on performance, it always loads so fast, but IE8 is heaps better then IE7 and I can live with tabs opening up a little slower =)

  6. You talk about cry babies and yet you here you are whining about an article that goes against the grain of MSFT. How about MSFT actually keep the promises that it makes and quit trying to muscle everyone out? MSFT are still the same company they were 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago. Microsoft.

  7. Kirkburn permalink

    me, that is a ridiculous comment. So Microsoft employees are supposed to lie back and take the lies in your world? You want them to quit muscling people out (I assume by not making IE competitive) *and* break company intranet sites? How could that ever work?

    Also, describing MS (why MSFT? Is this the stock market?) as the same company it was 20 years is probably quite a compliment.

  8. @Emil –

    Please, don’t hold back on my account =)

  9. David permalink

    I agree. I was an Opera user until their recent complaint to the EU. That was enough for me to stop using it. Nothing but cry babies. Firefox managed to do what they couldn’t, and they are resorting these tatics.

  10. Phil permalink

    Exactly. And news sites without proper moderation are parroting the same garbage. I think IE8 is a step in the right direction. I’m an Opera user and for the time being have made IE8b2 my default browser.

  11. How about instead of crying because the competition actually does something good, why don’t you consider including some standards that will be important for the future of the internet, something like HTML5 or not fail the Acid3 test when Acid4 comes out, maybe??

    Oh, I forgot, you don’t really care about that, all you care about is users and $$$$.

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